Business Process Management is a methodology, often backed by software, to manage businesses at a higher efficiency. That sounds great but…
What does this mean?
It is a derivative of the increasing complexity of doing business in an economy with ever increasingly competitiveness, where margins continue to narrow and the pressure to respond to market shifts is greater than any would have believed it could be 20 years ago.
And amid all this, companies must be run successfully – both in the long-term and under the enhanced scrutiny of success each fiscal quarter.
Businesses today must improve their agility while reducing costs and overhead on an ongoing basis. That is what BPM is intended to do.
BPM has a Clear Target
BPM is targeted at formalizing business processes into highly manageable and visible workflows. These processes already exist, but commonly vary from department to department, by function and through the requirements of interaction with various software products and business partners.
This creates a management and training burden, it stymies attempts at holistic reporting across the business and often results in duplicity of information handling as the information moves from one department to the next.
When these business processes are placed inside the common framework a BPM product supplies, several powerful things happen.
BPM in Action
First, reporting on these processes becomes naturally holistic. It is like a camera zoom that can be pulled back to get the overall “big picture” then zoom down into whatever details need to be seen.
BPM forces common business process methodology across the enterprise. When everyone uses the same system a commonality occurs that dramatically reduces training requirements, simplifies compliance efforts and enhances internal communications.
Duplicity is also eliminated because everything is under the same system. Even in the cases where information must exist in duplicate form, the BPM can automatically replicate this once it has been configured it to do so.
Obviously, these are attributes that every company can benefit from.
Is BPM a Silver Bullet?
But BPM is not a silver bullet. Simply buying a BPM system, installing it and turning it on will not magically transform business processes into a clean, crisp, efficient and holistic business management system.
It takes work and commitment – planning and dedication. BPM deals with systems, departments and individuals. It will touch every person in the business. It requires intelligent and well-thought out implementation. It forces change.
There are many highly successful BPM implementations, and there are also those that have provided little benefit, with some having an overall negative affect. BPM must be implemented with solid planning and commitment. Taking shortcuts when implementing BPM is a recipe for disaster.
Not just a Fad
BPM is not just a buzzword, or fad. It is something that companies need, both now and for the future. Because BPM is implemented through a structured software product it can easily expand and adapt with the growth and change of each company, protecting the company’s investment and aiding the success of the business.
A carefully selected, well thought-out and meticulously implemented BPM system will become a powerful tool for improving business operations. Once the BPM is in place, it provides a management system which dramatically simplifies the cost and time of product, market and business adaptations.
By giving the business a consistent framework for the processes of the business, training is dramatically reduced and proficiency is increased. Training based on consistent process methodology (which the BPM forces to occur) gives employees a baseline to work from. New processes, or modification of existing processes, are easily created and adopted because employees are comfortable with how the “system” works.
The benefits are there. There is substantial value that can be realized through BPM but it is important to consider the numerous factors will affect the final result. Poor planning or lack of commitment can whisk away the value of BPM and negate any return on investment.
Leah is an author, producer, elearning developer, and marketing communications professional focused on the psychological and linguistic aspects of communication, and intercultural communication.